What Is Sawyer and Why Did We Start?

Sawyer is a new marketplace for parents to discover and book all the best educational classes for their children. From as early as three months old, children can start experiencing classes that help them develop, socialize, and hit milestones that stay with them throughout life.

As two working moms, my co-founder and I realized that there was not a great way for parents to gain access to all the amazing local classes for children.  Online PDFs, checks, and cash are still the standard in this industry, making it difficult for parents and challenging for providers. This makes it hard for parents to know what exists out there, let alone book classes online in the way we all are accustomed to in today’s world. Our culture of immediacy and mobile life made us feel frustrated and at odds with being able to make great choices for our kids.

Our background is in eCommerce--both of us having led teams at Rent the Runway--so we knew there could be a better way! And that is when we started Sawyer.

The really cool part about Sawyer is our technology. Not only can parents discover and book class on Hisawyer.com, but providers can use software that we have built to power their whole registration process (Sawyer Tools). This makes it very easy for them to take bookings online, manage payments, and even message directly with parents.

All the tech is the same, so we have the only real-time, up to date marketplace for children’s education. We just recently launched in Chicago and are listing with so many wonderful providers!!

On being a working mom while launching a startup. When I first launched Sawyer, I had yet to become a Mom. I was actually fundraising for Sawyer while pregnant with my daughter. I think the keys to trying to make things work as a founder and a mom involve a few things:

It takes a village. My co-founders at Sawyer are great teammates, supporting leaders, and I know I can trust them when I have to be out of the office. My husband is a partner to me and can be flexible when it comes to stepping in to be with our daughter if I need to go out for an early breakfast or an evening panel. We have full time childcare as well, which adds to our ability to both work out of the home. We also believe it is important to prioritize each other, so hiring sitters and enlisting family to jump in and watch our daughter is key.

Prioritizing. Having a startup is great as a young parent because you have control over your schedule. I try my best to be home for my daughter’s bedtime each day (which is early because she is still little), which allows me to spend time with her (and then I can hop back online post-bedtime if needed). My co-founder and I try our best to hold meetings, coffees, and all the critical pieces of running the company during normal business hours (9-5) as we respect that most people also have families to go home to, and we believe it is important to use your time at the office efficiently.

Saying no. I also do not feel badly about telling external parties that I cannot take a call at 6 pm or over the weekend. I have a one-year-old daughter; I prioritize my time with her around my professional career and I’m proud of it. Most people understand this, and we find a way to fit it in during the work day.

Finding time to be alone. I read recently that the modern parent has 55 minutes a day of “me time,” which feels like a lot when I think about my life. But then I think back to before I had a child and feel like 55 minutes seems like nothing! I try to carve out time each week to be alone as it’s when I think best and can be most creative; be it on a run or walking to each lunch by myself, those times spent decompressing from the noise of the day are critical to my overall mental health.